Operational Excellence Barriers
By Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer and Systems Guy, Great Systems
What are Your Operational Excellence Barriers?
Poor work system design is the leading cause of our failure to sustain high levels of performance. Over time, I have discovered ten key work systems that must work well, and in sync, in order for sustained operational excellence to be realized. Similarly, I was also able to identify ten common operational excellence barriers. Common barriers include poorly designed leadership development systems, technology utilization systems, and measurement systems. What might your operational excellence barriers be?
Systems give you with what you design them to give you. Your personal food selection process determines to some degree the performance of your body. Think about the compensation system you use at work – the ‘package’ of wages, benefits, and work environment. How does that ‘package’ affect the levels of motivation, ownership, and commitment your people feel towards your organization? Operational excellence barriers commonly exist in organizations when work systems fail to encourage and support high performance work.
How Do You Optimize Work System Performance?
This is not an ‘either – or’ argument. Organizational performance is both constrained and aided by systems design and integration. The positive performance of one system can offset the negative impact of a different system. For example, a strong leadership system can overcome some of the negatives that result from a poor compensation work system design. The goal, of course, is to get all ten work systems to spin in a positive direction, in a consistent manner. That is how you optimize work system performance.
Think of poor work systems design as being similar to a dog on a leash in the back yard. The length of the leash is the constraint to the dog’s ability to explore and defend the yard. We can view the leash as a operational excellence barrier or performance restrictor plate. If we optimize the length of the leash, we provide benefits to both the dog and the owner. If w can find other performance restrictors, we can gain further benefits.
As your key work systems improve in their design, site, business unit, and organizational performance will improve. Certain work systems will contribute more than others. The goal should be to get all key work systems and processes to spin in a positive direction. Then, they will provide more and more value and improve consistently over time.
Operational Excellence Barriers and Work Systems
Operational Excellence Barrier – Click on a Key Work System to learn more!
- #1: Poor alignment in leader actions and behaviors – Leadership
- #2: Low idea generation rates and minimal innovation – Strategy
- #3: Low product or service value – Customer Amazement
- #4: Use the wrong measures in the wrong ways – Measurement
- #5: Low commitment to teamwork and success – Team Engagement
- #6: High levels of unknown waste, limited process-based improvement – Process Improvement
- #7: Little practice, low retention, wrong application – Training and Learning
- #8: Limited time built into job for improvement – Job Design
- #9: One way ‘Negative Street’ is the one we travel the most – Communication
- #10: Low use of digital, AI, and wearable options – Technology
Minimizing Operational Excellence Barriers
Keep in mind that each of these systems interface with the other nine. Each of these systems has either a positive or negative spin effect on your organization at any given time. Leaders can increase or decrease the speed of this system rotation quite easily. However, it is often much more difficult to reverse the spin of a system. This is because of the momentum that exists. If you improve the above work systems and start at the top of the list, you can attack the high leverage factors that hold back performance improvements in your organization.
To change behaviors, you need to change systems. Leaders need to remove, or at least minimize, those operational excellence barriers that exist. It will not work to simply ask for, let alone demand, behavior change. Click on the above operational excellence barriers and/or systems to learn more.
If you would like more information about the improvement tools and systems I have to offer, please send me an e-mail at email@example.com.